Monday, June 28, 2010

The Story of Miriam's Breech Home Birth

*Updated with photos and more background info*
Disclaimer: There are photos of me without clothes on, including one where you see my bottom (I am kneeling) when Miriam was being born. I decided to post it because its so rare to see breech births. I'm still bummed we didn't get the birth on video.  

You can read Jared's version of Miriam's birth here

I had a very uneventful pregnancy this time until the third trimester. I felt great, and with the exception of some round ligament pain, never even got that uncomfortable. However, Baby Miriam decided we needed some more drama in our lives when she turned breech around the start of the third trimester and stubbornly refused to go head down. We spent weeks trying all the normal tricks--breech tilt, inversion, chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, Turn Your Breech Baby Hypnobabies cd, music, ice, flashlight, headstands, homeopathics, and of course lots and lots of prayers.

Finally, when I was almost 38 weeks my midwife referred me to an OB for a version. I had an ultrasound done first where it was discovered that my amniotic fluid levels were quite low. Too low to attempt a version, and low enough to cause concern that something else could be wrong. The OB said that most of his colleagues would recommend I get a c-section that night since my baby was full term and breech. He realized that was obviously something we wanted to avoid, so he recommended a non-stress test to see how the baby was doing first. Fortunately, my midwife could do this at her office, so we didn't have to stay in the hospital. Baby was doing great so the orders were to "hydrate like hell" and hope to get my fluids up enough to attempt the version in a couple days. I drank liters and liters of water but when I went back for another ultrasound my fluid levels were barely higher. A version was no longer an option. Time to prepare for plan B.

We did another non-stress test (baby still doing great) and talked things over with our midwife. Here in Utah it is illegal for liscensed midwives to attend breech births at home. This meant our wonderful midwife, Rebecca, could not attend our birth alone. So she contacted a very experienced and well respected lay midwife in our area and asked her if she'd be willing to come to our birth. Chris agreed to come. We decided it was probably best for Miriam to come pretty soon since my fluid levels were so low. We decided to give her a few more days but made plans to encourage things along the following Wednesday. We continued to do non stress tests every other day, which Miriam always passed with flying colors.

Wednesday came and that morning Rebecca stripped my membranes and gave me cohosh in the hopes of getting labor started. I'm not usually a fan of even these types of intervention but with my low fluid levels and a breech baby we thought it was best to encourage things along. We did another nonstress test that morning too and she was happy as always. When Rebecca stripped my membranes I was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced with a bulging bag of waters quite low. Not a bad start.

We left Rebecca's office just before 10 and headed to Costco to get a few last minute things. I started having a few mild cramps. By the time we left Costco they had picked up a bit. We stopped at one more store to get diapers and pads and then headed home. It was just after 11 when we got home. I was having mild and crampy waves pretty close together but still didn't know if they would go anywhere. I had several things I wanted to get done around the house and thought I would have plenty of time. I got on the computer to do a quick post on my blog. By the time I was done with that I was having to really concentrate on the waves to relax. They were getting more intense and were VERY close together. Rebecca called around noon and said that was the cohosh at work. 
I laid on my bed and listened to some Hypnobabies. I was actually getting a bit frustrated because despite my best efforts the waves were still somewhat uncomfortable. They were just so close together I hardly got a chance to regroup between them. Time gets a little fuzzy from here on out, but I spent a few waves on the toilet and then on the floor of the bathroom on my hands and knees. Then I went back to my bed. Rebecca called again and said she would come right over as soon as her last appointment left. I was back in the bathroom when she got to our house about 1:45. She checked me and I was 7 cm and 80% effaced. And bless her she said I could get in the birth pool!
I was so happy to be in the water. It really helped me relax more. The waves had spaced out a tiny bit so I was getting a bit more of a break between them, but they were also getting super intense. I knelt and leaned against the side of the pool and started vocalizing through them. In the mean time, Jared was working out arrangements for Asher who had just woken up from his nap, and we were still waiting on Chris, the other midwife to get there. Right around when she arrived I started feeling pushy and felt a pop--my water broke. This is also about the time Jared left to take Asher around the corner to a friend's house. I started pushing involuntarily and pretty soon her bottom was out and then her legs. And Jared wasn't back yet! Rebecca ran out the door to see if she could catch him but didn't see him. He got back when Miriam was half way out. Chris told me to reach down and touch her so I was rubbing her back before her head was out. She got still for a moment while she got her arms out and then I pushed again and her head came right out super easy.  I just lifted her between my legs and turned around. No one else even touched her. I think the whole pushing phase was less than 5 minutes. (Unfortunately, it was so fast that we didn't get a chance to get out the video camera. I really wanted to get the birth on video since a breech homebirth is so unusual. That is my only regret for the day.)
She was born at 2:41 pm. So I had roughly 3 to 3 1/2 hours of active labor. I think because of the cohosh and membrane stripping, everything was more intense. My waves were always super close together. It was definitely a fast ride. But I remained very calm and peaceful during the whole thing. Thank you, Hypnobabies! 
When I lifted Miriam out of the water her eyes were wide open and she was quiet. My first thought was that her eyes were huge and she looked so different than Asher did right after he was born. (He was all swollen and bruised.) I rubbed her back and we put a towel on her and she started pinking up and making some noise. We hung out in the water until the cord stopped pulsing and then Rebecca clamped it and Jared cut it. Jared took Miriam and held her skin to skin while I got out of the water and went over to the couch. I wasn't even bleeding that much thank goodness. A few minutes later I pushed out the placenta. We just hung out on the couch and Miriam eventually started nursing while Rebecca and Chris cleaned up and then checked me out. I didn't tear! I just have a little "skid mark" that will heal up fine. I'm not even sore. I only used one ice pack that day and have felt fine since. Much different than how I felt after Asher when it seemed like my bottom wasn't even attached to by body anymore! Three hours of pushing can do that I guess!
My grandma thoughtfully had some pizza sent to our house so that's what we ate for a late lunch. Then I had to go pee so Rebecca helped me up and I got all cleaned and padded up. I seriously felt SO good. I didn't feel like I had just had a baby. I put on some clothes and then we weighed and measured Miriam. 6 pounds 10 ounces, 19 1/2 inches long, 13 inch head. Absolutely perfect.
This birth was pretty much exactly as I had been visualizing it my entire pregnancy. The only difference is that it was faster and she was breech. I really wanted to go into labor in the morning after a good night's sleep and then have her in the afternoon sometime. I imagined being in the water, kneeling and catching her myself. That is exactly what I did. Although labor was very fast and intense, I was always calm and never afraid. I always felt really peaceful about everything. Pushing was SO easy and painless and she came right out fast and perfectly.
I feel like the stars really aligned to give us the perfect peaceful home birth we had prepared for. I will be forever grateful to Rebecca for her confidence in us and the birth process. And also to Chris for agreeing to come so that we could have the birth at home. She was so calming and assuring as I pushed out Miriam. I'm still amazed at how easy and beautiful this birth was when probably 99.9% of people in our situation would have had a c-section. I feel so blessed that I had this experience.

And let me also add that being at home right after is SO great! I've loved it. I hope I never have to birth in a hospital again!

Miriam is doing great. She's a little jaundiced but not enough to worry about. We've just been letting her sunbathe a lot. She's very alert and smiley already. She has huge eyes and the sweetest little mouth. We of course think she's gorgeous. She's like a little pixie. All her newborn clothes are still huge on her. She does look like Asher but she also just looks like herself. She's very girlie looking with long slender fingers and toes. We are all smitten with her. Asher is adjusting fairly well. He's really gentle with her but he's also having to get used to sharing Mommy. I took some really cute pictures of the two of them today that I'll get posted soon. My mom is here with us and we are all just enjoying having a tiny baby around again. Life is good.

Here's a slideshow of more photos from the birth:

59 comments:

  1. that is so awesome, Katrina. Im so happy for you! You make it seem like a piece of cake!

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  2. you do make it sound almost easy and I'm so happy you got exactly what you wanted, congratulations!

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  3. how beautiful!!! this is amazing. . .

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  4. What a nice story! Congratulations.

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  6. So glad it went well!

    Just out of curiosity, did you have a back-up plan in case Miriam got stuck? (Emergency C-section via your dad? :-)

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  7. You are amazing!! Congratulations on all the excitement; I'm so happy it went SO WELL. You are one of the few that can have a breech baby vaginally, NATURALLY, and at HOME!! I'm super impressed. :) You are the greatest!

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  8. I can't believe how amazingly smooth that all went. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing and good luck.

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  9. Wonderful! Can't wait to see more pictures and I can't believe your husband almost missed it! Crazy.

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  10. Congratulations! Can't wait to see pictures!

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  11. I have read this multiple times today. Such a great birth story! I hope mine goes half as well. I'm so happy that you were able to achieve your perfect home birth...even with that little breech girl. You are aweomse!

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  12. That is an amazing story! Good for you. Congratulations.

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  13. What a great birth! You are so lucky and I love how you imagined just about everything that happened! Why don't more mothers have breech births? Are doctors just to scared?

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  14. Thank you, Thank you for the positive story! I'm getting really excited about doing hypnobabies.
    So glad Jared made it back in time!!! Congratulations on what sounds like a beautiful birth and a beautiful baby!

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  15. That's beautiful! Congratulations! I'm so glad it went so smoothly for you. Amazing. Also, I know someone who's started a website with birth stories and she wants ALL types of stories. I think you should definitely submit. Check it out here - http://www.everybodybirths.com/.

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  16. Congratulations, again! Thanks for all the details.

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  17. Katrina!!! Congratulations! She is beautiful and I'm so happy things went so smoothly! Can't wait to meet her! Way to go girl:)

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  18. Thanks for sharing your story. What a beautiful birth! Congratulations.

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  19. Welcome sweet, gorgeous Miriam and congrats Katrina! What a beautiful birth story...perfectly perfect! Can't wait to meet her! xoxo, trina

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  20. I can't get over how insane and yet perfectly normal that whole story is.

    Congratulations, so awesome.

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  21. Congratulations! So exciting. For a long while now I've looked into hypnobabies even though I'm not expecting. I think it would be an awesome way to go. So glad you were able to do it at home with no complications. I look forward to seeing pix of the kids together.

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  22. What a wonderful, WONDERFUL birth story & amazing photos! It sounds like this was a very healing experience for you. I am so excited that you had her breech at home. Kinda makes you want to waggle your fingers neener-neener style at everyone who says it's impossible. Chris was my midwife for my 2nd baby - loved her - we had the baby at home (waterbirth) after having had my 1st in the hospital and, yes, pushing for 2.5 hours. Never again, I say... homebirth is the way to go!!

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  23. Thank you for posting these pics, love them!

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  24. super amazing photos. i think the one of her coming out of you feet first is absolutely incredible. so happy that you got all the photos even though you didn't get it on video.

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  25. Those pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing even the most intimate ones! I think it's just a marvel...

    I so regret not having my babies 'naturally'... YOU are my hero!!

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  26. Doing a bit of blog hopping tonight and I came to your story. It really touched me deeply. My daughter was breech and I was so young and had virtually no support that my husband and I did the only thing we thought we could do and I had a C section. Reading your beautiful story makes me long for what could have been. When I had my second everyone scared me to death, no VBAC, don't do it, blah blah blah. So I listened and he was too early with their scheduled C.

    I promised myself never again and as we are hoping to get pregnant again I have done a lot of research and will do all i can to have a natural birth with my third! Your story inspired me! Thank you!

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  27. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your beautiful birth! As a mama who was forced into a c/s because my daughter was breech, I am so happy to see a breech birth recognized as normal and natural. My third baby (2nd vbac) was born at home in a birth tub, and I absolutely agree that it is so peaceful and calming to be at home!

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  28. Congratulations! This is a beautiful story with beautiful, art quality photos to go along. They are really amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience. Good birth stories are so inspiring!

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  29. Fantastic story and photos! Thanks for sharing. It's great to let people know that breech alone is not a reason to cut. It looks like Miriam's birth was the peaceful and joyous occasion that every family would hope for.

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  30. Katrina, thank you for sharing your birth story with Miriam. It is just wonderful to see a confident young woman trusting herself and her baby to give birth normally, just bum first. :D I am very happy you had a care provider who was not only supportive but also sat on her hands.
    I have a question though. Why the induction?

    I am happy there are more women, though not enough still, who have fantastic births. With my first baby was like that, home waterbirth and I cannot say it was painful at all. Just very intense, and fast (3.5 hrs from 4cm to birth and almost one hour out of that was pushing) and I am sure it was the birth pool. My second baby, though same set up, different midwife, was faster yet, though not so intense. But with the second one I can say there was some pain! Haha. You can see it here http://veronikapolanska.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/birth-video-real-deal/ .
    You have a beautiful family. Congratulations to all of you. Always trust your instincts.
    Veronika, The Birth Anarkissed

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  31. Veronika... I need to put some more background info at the beginning of this post since so many people are now reading it who don't know the whole story. We stripped my membranes because I had VERY low fluid levels and thought it was best for her to come out if she was ready.

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  32. I found your story through Enjoy Birth, and I'm SO glad I found it! I had a home breech birth just last year in July, and it was a surprise breech. There's something truly wonderful and miraculous about a vaginal breech birth, and I think you don't really understand it until you've experienced it.

    I also live in Utah, and had a "lay" midwife at the birth. Because it was a surprise breech it would have been OK for a certified midwife, but it all worked out beautiful and perfectly, just like yours.

    I'd love to share my story with you. It's on my blog: http://mamasandbabies.blogspot.com/2009/07/home-water-birth-breech-delivery-of.html

    Congratulations! I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

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  33. Wonderful! I love breech homebirth stories :)

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  34. this is such a beautiful story! congratulations!

    i had a home birth 6 months ago and reading this takes me back to that special experience and makes me want to do it again and again and again. it also gives me confidence that if i ever have a breech baby, home birth is an option!

    check out my birth blog...birthwithconfidence.blogspot.com or my personal blog, tklarsen.blogspot.com.

    beautiful, just beautiful!

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  35. Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I just blogged about your story, along with a link to this post. Blessings to you and your family!

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  36. Beautiful story - and I think that your photographs of the birth are gorgeous and amazingly tasteful. I'm so glad that you had the birth that you wanted (and that was best for you both)!

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  37. What a beautiful birth story and the pictures are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing and congrats on your daughter.

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  38. Beautiful and inspring. Thanks for sharing!

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  39. FABULOUS story! A fellow doula sent this to me, and I'm glad she did! Your story is beautiful.

    I love seeing positive stories of empowering birth.

    Beauty.

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  40. Thanks for sharing your story. My first baby was a 6 lb, 10oz, 19 1/2 inch breech birthed baby, too! His head was so beautiful. He was born in hospital with an obstetrician (11 years ago), but I realise now how unusual that was/is. I am so pleased to read your birth story-I want women to know that breech birth does not equal c-section.

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  41. these photos are so amazing..such a great way to document your story! You look so radiant Mama...way to go!!
    suzy

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  42. What a lovely story - and gorgeous, glowing, radiant mama. Thank you for sharing, and huge congratulations!
    (found you from a peaceful parenting site)

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  43. What a lovely birth story, thank you so much for sharing it with us and showing how normal a breech birth can be... You are such a beautiful radiant mama, I can't even tell that you've just given birth in the photos :)

    My heart skipped a beat when I read that Chris attended your birth. She attended our last 2 births (most recent one was 7 weeks ago and the birth story is on my blog). Even though they weren't breech, I never worried for a second about the possibility of having a breech birth because of Chris' attitude and belief that it's just a 'variation of normal' :)

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  45. hi! what a gorgeous mama and bubba. i too am a redhead and birthed my gorgeous son full term breech vaginally and with no drugs. it was amazing and something i will never forget. i can't wait to tell amon his birth story when he's a bit older to sit in one place to listen to it! blessings. xx

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  46. Congratulations! I lived in Utah when my first son was born and Rebecca was my midwife too! Isn't she the best? Love to you and your family ♥♥♥

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  47. I had no idea it was possible to have a midwife assisted breech home birth in Utah. I'm so glad to have read about your experience so I can know just possible it is to have a natural birth even with what some would consider complications.

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  48. Congratulations on such a beautiful, peaceful birth! The clarity of those photos is great, and I love the way your breech delivery was captured. Thank you for sharing your unique experience.

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  49. Well, now that I'm finally joining the world again (lost in morning sickness), I caught up and holy cow, MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! I am so so excited for you and man, what a story. I'm so glad it all worked out, and against the odds, I bet you're right, I'd guess 99.9% too. I loved reading every bit, that was fascinating and really cool. I don't know anything about naturally/vaginally breech births, is it normal for her bum to come out before her legs? I was imagining how uncomfortable it sounds to have her legs come out after--was that the worst part?

    I bet you were a little anxious that jared wasn't there yet, I'd be trying to stay calm and a little freaked out that he was missing it at the same time. I've been toying with the idea of a home birth but Josh is adamantly against it in case of any risk whatsoever. I am curious about Rachael's q too about if you had a back up plan or not? I met with my friends midwife and really liked her, but for now it's a pipe dream:).

    Maybe one of my children will be a home birth--reading yours gave me more confidence in it, I'd started hearing enough horror stories after considering one that I started thinking hospital was the only way to go, but you gave me hope! I'll tell Josh about this:).

    Anywho, congrats, you look amazing too, really really amazing! Oh, and Miriam was on our top five names too when we ended up with Hazel, great name!

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  50. My friend had Chris as her midwife and showed me your blog. I am almost 37 weeks and my baby is breech. My amniotic fluid was first measured today as low to average and the baby passed the non-stress test today with flying colors. They will measure him tomorrow. The umbilical cord does seem like it is near the head and probably loosely around him. I don't want a c-section and of course the Dr. wants it if things don't change. I am in the process of trying everything for turning breech. I'm taking a hypnobabies course right now too. I haven't researched bath births, but am wondering if it is not likely possible because I have strep b and my last pregnancy my water broke a week early. I might contact Chris about a homebirth, but I'm not sure I'll go through with it. Thank you so much for your story!

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  51. I have seen so many stories now about successful breech births and am so happy things turned out well for everyone involved in all of the stories I've read. I am curious though, what would happen if the baby did get stuck? With my oldest, he was in perfect position for the longest time and the doctors thought he'd be an average 7 or 8 lbs. He came 2 weeks early though because he flipped, ended up breech, and broke my water. The doctors said c/s. It wasn't even presented as an option. Everything was so rushed, I watched them pull him out of my stomach in the reflection in the light above and my husband could see him too and we both kept thinking the same thing, 'Could his head pop off?!' I know it sounds ridiculous, but his head was SO big, they had trouble freeing him from my incision! I couldn't imagine if I had birthed him naturally, breech or not. I don't regret the c/s. I'm just thankful he and I were safe, but I have often wondered with all of the positive stories I've read what would have happened if I had tried birthing at home or naturally in any environment since I am guessing, while our bodies know how to birth, there IS a limit as to how much things open up, isn't there? (I'm thinking pelvic bones for instance.) Please know, I am asking this as honest curiousity...not trying to say people who homebirth or birth breech are wrong. I am just honestly wondering what would happen if my son had gotten stuck.

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  52. I had three breech c/sections. I have tears of joy reading your story. Amazing. To Lisa who posted March 1st. My friend did have a breech homebirth with serious complications. Horribly scary and mom and baby both ended up fine and healthy, but it didn't look that way for awhile. By the time the ambulance got there, they were able to send it away. That's why IMO you should have back up transport ready to go and be close to a well equiped hospital.

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  53. Great story. I've already been wanting to give birth again, but now I'm envious of this amazing and beautiful experience. How wonderful. Life is so precious! congratulations on your 8 month old baby. My third is exactly one month older than Miriam!

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  54. really wonderful story- love the pic of her little legs out! so amazing! you did great. i'm excited to use hypnobabies again for our 3rd birth(but only 2nd time with hypnobabies) and this is certainly inspiring!

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  55. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm at 36 weeks and my baby is still in breech. We've tried EVERYTHING under the sun but much like you, she just doesn't want to move. I go in for a version in 3 days, but if that doesn't work I really want to try to have her vaginally still. It's so nice to hear such a beautiful natural vaginal birth story with a breech. This really gives me hope! ~Rose Cole

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  56. I was browsing around your blog this evening and came across your birth story--so lovely! I love breech stories and it gives me hope to read ones that happen simply and easily.

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  57. Thanks for sharing such an amazing story! The more I read about home births, the more inspired I am to give it a shot. Thanks for the inspiration!

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